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Great Britain's flag Great Britain's RAF aircraft marking

Great Britain's Fairey Firefly fighter, fighter bomber

Photos

  • Fairey Firefly Mk I
  • Fairey Firefly fighter
  • Fairey Firefly fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly F Mk III fighter
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk I fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk I fighter-reconnassiance
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk V fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly Mk I fighter
  • Fairey Firefly
  • Fairey Firefly
  • Fairey Firefly

Design

The Fairey Firefly was a more powerful Fulmar and developed starting in 1940.

The Fulmar was of an all-metal construction with its wings low on the fuselage.

Had Fairey-Youngman flaps which allowed for high manouverability.

The pilot had a large canopy which provided an excellent view.

Prototype

On December 22, 1941 was the Fireflys first flight. The next three prototypes flew in March 1942, August 1942, and September 1942.

The Mk IV prototype first flew in May 1945.

Production

Initially 200 were ordered for the British Fleet Air Arm.

  • Prototypes: 4
  • Fairey Firefly F.I: 429
    • Fairey: 297
    • General Aircraft: 132
  • Fairey Firefly FR.I: 236
  • Fairey Firefly NF.I: 140
  • Fairey Firefly NF.II: 37
  • Total: 850, 950, 1,623, 1,702
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd., General Aircraft
    • Production: 1943 - 1946, ? - November 1946

Produced until 1955.

Variants

  • Firefly F. Mk I: Fighter.
  • Firefly F. Mk IA: Added ASH radar.
  • Firefly FR. Mk I: Fighter reconnaissance. Added an American ASH radar under the nose.
  • Firefly NF. Mk I: Conversion to a night fighter with the ASH radar.
  • Firefly NF. Mk II: Production night fighter with the AI. Mk X radar added to both wings.
  • Firefly F. Mk III: Had Griffon 61 engine. Prototype.
  • Firefly Mk IV, Firefly FR. Mk IV: Post World War II. Had Griffon 74 engine (2,190 HP). Had a four blade propeller. Radiator moved to the wing root.

Usage

Deliveries started in March 1943 and service starting in October 1943.

First Battle

In July 1944 the No. 1770 Squadron, aboard the HMS Indefatigable, were used in raids on the Tirpitz.

Over Britain

In 1944 Fairey Firefly NF. Mk Is intercepted He 111s carrying V-1 flying bombs.

Against Japan

On January 2, 1945 a Firefly had it's first air-to-air victory against a Japanese Nakajima Ki-43.

In January 1945 Fireflys from the HMS Indefatigable were used in the attacks on oil refineries in Sumatra.

In June 1945 three squadrons of Fireflys were used in the Caroline Islands.

In July 1945 the Firefly was the first British aircraft to fly over Tokyo during attacks.

Once World War II was over, the Fireflys were used to drop supplies to POWs still in camps throughout Japan.

Korean War

The Firefly was used during the Korean War.

Specifications

  Fairey Firefly
Type Reconnaissance fighter
Crew 2
Pilot, Radio operator / Navigator / Observer
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon II
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 2,000
Propeller blades Rotol 3 blade constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 44' 6"
13.6 m
Length 37' 7"
11.4 m
Height 13' 7"
4.45 m
Armament  
Wings 4: 20 mm Hispano
  Fairey Firefly Mk I
Type Reconnaissance fighter, Fighter, Fighter-bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB piston
OR Rolls-Royce Griffon XII
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP IIB: 1,730, 1,735
XII: 1,990
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 44' 6"
13.56 m
Length 37' 7", 37' 7.25"
11.46 m
Height 13' 7"
4.14 m
Wing area 326 ft2 , 328 sq ft
30.47 m2
Weight  
Empty 9,731 lb , 9,750 lb
4,423 kg
Loaded 13,990 lb, 14,020 lb
6,359 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 284 mph
457 kph
Speed @ 14,000' /
4,265 m
316 mph
509 kph
Speed @ 17,000' /
5,182 m
319 mph
513 kph
Cruising speed 204 mph
329 kph
Climb 1,700'/minute
518 m/minute
Service ceiling 28,000'
8,534 m, 8,535 m
Range 774 miles, 1,300 miles
1,246 km, 2,092 km
Maximum range 1,070 miles
1,722 km
Armament  
Wings 4: 20 mm
4: 20 mm Hispano
Rockets 8: 60 lb
8: 27 kg, 27.2 kg
OR  
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb
2: 454 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, 1998, Chris Bishop
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site